CORVALLIS — Pacific-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott stopped by Reser Stadium as he made his rounds of member schools during the football season.
He chose to see the Beavers on Saturday because of the fast start to the season and to congratulate coach Mike Riley on his 75th career victory for the most wins by an OSU coach.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in Corvallis, and it was nice to see all the development,” Scott said. “And of course I’m here to celebrate Mike Riley’s 75th victory and achievement.”
Scott addressed four main issues when he met the media before the game with the negotiations with DirecTV as the hottest topic.
The others were media relations between new coaches in the conference, expansion and revenue.
Many fans have been upset that the first-year Pac-12 Networks are not available through DirecTV. Without the Pac-12 Networks, many of football games are not available on television.
“I’m thrilled how the Pac-12 Networks have gone so far,” Scott said. “We are six weeks into it — it’s hard to believe. In those short six weeks, we’ve done 100 live sporting events. It’s very remarkable. I’m proud of our team that pulled it together and got it launched.”
Many major cable providers signed up for the Pac-12 Networks, but DirecTV remains out. Scott said the company’s belief is that Pac-12 fans are not passionate and the price is too steep to show the national or regional programing.
“From the distribution standpoint we have 40 cable operators, and from any standard for a startup network we are happy,” Scott said. “We’ve done this for the fans, so we want everyone to have access to the network.”
Scott wouldn’t say how close the negotiations are, or speculate how soon a deal would done.
“I’ve studied how these networks go,” Scott said. “The Big Ten took a year with DirecTV. From everyone I talked to it takes some time, but we’d like to get it done as soon as possible. We’ve offered every distributor out there the same deal. We hope they listen to their customers, our fans. There’s a huge demand. There are a lot of DirecTV customers who are passionate fans. We encourage everyone to let them know they want it.”
He said he won’t change the price just for DirecTV. And the offer of showing Pac-12 program a la carte is not something the conference will accept.
“We don’t think of it as a serious offer, more of a PR stunt,” Scott said. “DirecTV had 50 different sports networks, national and regional, and none of them are offered a la carte. No one is going to get it at a better deal than anyone else. I think everyone in the industry understands that. We’ve said to DirecTV that they can have the same deal.”
USC coach Lane Kiffin started a mini feud with the Los Angeles media about access to practice that stemmed from injuries being reported.
Scott said he was interested in creating a standard for injury reporting like the NFL. He plans to meet with the athletic directors next week and that’s one of the topics.
“I tend not to get involved with local relations with coaches and media, but I did raise my hand when reading about some things on injury report,” Scott said. “I would just like to have a conversation about it. We’ll talk about if it should be uniform or left alone to each school.”
There’s no more expansion planned, at the moment, Scott said. The school presidents like being at 12 schools, just getting accustomed to scheduling and other details.
“We are watching what happens nationally,” Scott said. “We like to be ahead of the curve but we think things are cooling down.”
Numbers have floated around from $14 million, $19 million and $21 million that each school receivers from the conference. Scott won’t be specific because the revenue from the Pac-12 Networks in terms of advertisers and distributors is changing. And the costs are not yet known.
Overall, he’s pleased with how the conference is going behind the scenes and on the field.
“The conference is in very good shape in terms of the teams at the top,” Scott said. “Those early-season wins over Big Ten and Big 12 teams made a statement for the conference, and Oregon State contributed to that.”